When I was young, our home was unhappy. I was sensitive to the tense, quarrelsome atmosphere, and I suffered recurring bouts of asthma.
But during occasional visits with my grandparents, whose home had a loving atmosphere that gave me peace, my health would temporarily improve.
"How was the world made?" I asked Grandma.
In reply, she opened her big family Bible and read to me the first chapter of Genesis, including the words "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (verses 1 and 31).
My grandmother's simple response convinced me that the Bible was a very special book that could somehow answer my questions about creation. What I didn't know was that, when I'd eventually begin to understand the full answer, I would find not only peace but healing.
Some years later the question of creation again preoccupied me. Some people said the world was made through atomic power. But to me, this theory only led to another question: who, what, created atomic power?
I reasoned it out that only a supreme power could exceed atomic power. That in order to understand creation, it was necessary to understand God. So I began to search for God.
When I was about 20, I had an unusual experience. One day, for a few brief moments, I found myself picturing the physical universe in an entirely different light. On the surface it looked unchanged from the creation I was used to seeing around me. Yet, in one significant aspect, there was something different about it.
I glimpsed a universe in which intelligence was not split up into millions of separate minds, but had its source in one universal Mind. I saw that what we see as a physical creation is a false impression - for Mind creates ideas, not material things. So, despite appearances, the universe must be mental, spiritual. It was as if I suddenly took a somersault in my thinking - in that the physical creation, which seemed to be the real one, became just a belief, and the spiritual was the real. This was a new view of existence.
However, it didn't occur to me that this creative intelligence and its spiritual universe had anything to do with God. I had thought of God as a kind of remote supermortal. I assumed that intelligence was divided among millions of separate humans. It had seemed to me that there was no connecting link between us and God. Nor did I suspect that this new view of creation would lead to anything practical, such as the healing of my problems.
But a few months later I read this: "The understanding that the Ego is Mind [God], and that there is but one Mind or intelligence, begins at once to destroy the errors of mortal sense and to supply the truth of immortal sense. This understanding makes the body harmonious; it makes the nerves, bones, brain, etc., servants, instead of masters" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 216).
I began to grasp the concept that God is the one infinite Mind, and that the universe is comprised of the perfect ideas that this good Mind conceives. I began to realize that on that basis, each one of us is in and of a good and intelligent God. That my problems were not compulsory. They were not a part of God's reality, and therefore could be healed.
As I grew in this understanding of God and creation, my home situation began to change for the better. The emotional tension was replaced by an atmosphere of compassion, joy, and peace. And the asthmatic condition was quickly and permanently healed.
The experience that turned my life around seemed unusual. But it's not unique. Many people suspect there's more to existence than appears on the surface. Many see God as the universal source of intelligence.
Created "in the image of God," we are not material and imperfect. We are spiritual and harmonious. This is what Jesus taught.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society